I don’t know how many of you are familiar with Kristen Bell’s “Sloth Meltdown” video, but here’s the gist of it: In the video, Bell explains to Ellen DeGeneres that when her happiness level dips below a three or goes above a seven, she begins to cry. So how does this relate to Passion Pit’s new album “Gossamer”?
Well, with the follow up to 2009s highly popular “Manners,” “Gossamer” serves up an album that is full of depth and profound lyrics juxtaposed with Passion Pit’s joyously electric beats, creating a steady movement between carefree tunes and Michael Angelakos’s sorrowfully pinched voice.
The 12 tracks in “Gossamer” make up an album full of pure, marvelous, blue ribbon-worthy music. Every song is a perfectly moving and entrancing journey, making it easy for the mind to wander along and the ears to come along for the ride.
The opening track, “Take a Walk,” kicks the album off with a bang as the song begins with an airy synth opening, almost resembling an electronic version of church organs, before bursting into a methodical drum beat backing Michael Angelako’s voice, singing about life as an adult — complete with a family, paying bills and how they’ll “make love like we’re young” and “take a walk” to get away from it all.
“Gossamer” is full of surprises. Tracks such as “Love is Greed” and “Cry Like a Ghost” come with less than cheerful names, yet are distinguished by Passion Pit’s bombastic synths and Angelakos’s stunning falsetto. In “Cry Like a Ghost,” a clapping synth perfectly complements Angelakos as he cries, “And yes, I drank all those drinks on my own / my life’s become some blurry little quest.”
The “blurry little quest” that Angelakos croons about hits close to home for him. Recently, Passion Pit has canceled and postponed numerous stops on their tour, citing Angelakos’s need to work on his mental health, but have promised to be there for the upcoming Lollapalooza, Osheaga, and Outside Lands music festivals.
Angelakos’s tortured essence comes to light in “I’ll Be Alright,” the second track on this shining album, which gives the deepest insight into the front man’s struggles, as the assertive track is peppered with lyrics like “I’m so self loathing that it’s hard for me to see / reality from what I dream” and “I drink a Gin and take a couple of my pills.” But the partnering between the alarmingly melancholic lyrics and the absorbingly saccharine instrumentation allows the lyrics to go nearly unnoticed.
“It’s Not My Fault, I’m Happy” is like a ballad from the eighties that mixes with Angelakos’s childlike voice, making it sound as if he’s being backed by a choir full of children with the title lyrics only being sung by Angelakos, in another seemingly simple yet meaningful track.
Webster’s Dictionary defines the word gossamer as two things – the first being “a film of cobwebs floating in air in calm, clear weather,” and the second meaning “something light, delicate, or insubstantial.” Passion Pit’s “Gossamer” is light and delicate, sorrowful and reflective, but of course, hampered with the classic synth and dynamic instrumentation that Passion Pit is known for.
“Gossamer” gives a party to listeners, anthems for the lonely and heartbroken, and for those who are blissfully happy, an illuminating listen into the ups and downs of torrid romances, the woefulness of depression and finally, just some really good music.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5